Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New concept for biofuel cells: Tree fungus lets current flow

Date:
July 5, 2013
Source:
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
Summary:
Scientists have found a way to make a species of tree fungus useful for the production of electricity.

Sabine Sané, doctoral candidate in the research training group Micro Energy Harvesting at the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) of the University of Freiburg, has found a way to make a species of tree fungus useful for the production of electricity.

The new energy conversion concept was chosen as the cover story of ChemSusChem, a journal for chemistry, sustainability, energy, and materials. The research was supported by scientists from a research group led by Dr. Sven Kerzenmacher at Prof. Dr. Roland Zengerle's Laboratory for MEMS Applications.

Biofuel cells produce electricity that is environmentally friendly and conserves resources, for instance from organic waste material. They can use enzymes as catalysts to enable electrochemical reactions that generate electricity. In contrast to precious metal catalysts in conventional fuel cells, these enzymes can be obtained at low cost from renewable raw materials. For many technical applications, however, their lifetime is too short.

The new concept developed by the Freiburg scientists solves this problem by ensuring that the fuel cell is continually resupplied with the biocatalyst. The supplier of the fuel cell is Trametes versicolor, a tree fungus that is also found in temperate climates: It releases the fungal enzyme laccase into a solution surrounding the cathode -- the positive pole of the cell -- where it enables the electrochemical conversion of oxygen. Experiments conducted by the researchers demonstrate that this method can be used to extend the lifetime of the cathodes to as much as 120 days, and even considerably longer lifetimes seem possible.

By comparison, the cathodes only have a lifetime of 14 days if they are not supplied with more of the enzymes. Since the enzymatic solution can be supplied directly to the fuel cell without time-consuming and expensive purification, the costs are reduced to a minimum. Potential applications for the concept include microbial fuel cells that generate electricity from wastewater, a technology Kerzenmacher's research group is also developing.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sabine Sané, Claude Jolivalt, Gerhard Mittler, Peter J. Nielsen, Stefanie Rubenwolf, Roland Zengerle, Sven Kerzenmacher. Overcoming Bottlenecks of Enzymatic Biofuel Cell Cathodes: Crude Fungal Culture Supernatant Can Help to Extend Lifetime and Reduce Cost. ChemSusChem, 2013; 6 (7): 1209 DOI: 10.1002/cssc.201300205

Cite This Page:

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. "New concept for biofuel cells: Tree fungus lets current flow." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130705101514.htm>.
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. (2013, July 5). New concept for biofuel cells: Tree fungus lets current flow. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130705101514.htm
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. "New concept for biofuel cells: Tree fungus lets current flow." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130705101514.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

AFP (Sep. 20, 2014) — Some 125 world leaders are expected to commit to action on climate change at a UN summit Tuesday called to inject momentum in struggling efforts to tackle global warming. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) — Jars, bottles, caps and even a pizza box, recovered from the trash, were the elements used by four musical groups at the "RSFEST2014 Sonorities Recycling Festival", in Colombian city of Cali. Duration: 00:49 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) — An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) — Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins